25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 2

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I love vintage Christmas card images.  I found this one online and could not resist sharing it with you.  Outdoor Christmas trees covered in snow are magical to me.

day 2

Original source unknown.  

Today’s song was written in 1962 and became a hit the following year for Bing Crosby.  His version is a traditional  take on this tune and holds up well, but the song was never really a favorite of mine.  Maybe that’s why despite the dozens of versions that have been introduced to the world in the past 56 years I never really took notice.  Then I heard this group’s soulful cover and all that changed.

The lead singer has one of the best voices to come out of Motown, where she and her group first found success.  She began singing in church at age four and by age 7 she won her first award on a TV amateur hour.  Her unbelievably powerful vocal range gave their recordings equal doses of grace and grit which were framed by the luscious harmonies of her back-up group.  And their dance moves and choreography only added to the experience of watching them perform.  They had many hits of their own but their take on songs like “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and “The Way We Were” made them as popular as the originals.  And just what would the landscape of music (or life, for that matter) look like without that “Midnight Train To Georgia“???

gladys and the pips.jpg

Gladys Knight & the Pips:  “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (1975, written by Noel Regney & Gloria Shayne in 1962).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 22

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I follow a lot of unbelievably talented & creative women on Instagram, and since their pictures are so beautiful, I wanted to share a few with you.

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Courtesy of Amanda @rosierosechic. 

This pretty picture is from Amanda @rosierosechic.   Her style is feminine without being too girly, creative, thrifted, elegant and neutral with the softest pops of color.  And the way she decorated her young daughter’s room is so beautiful I would not mind having a space like that for myself.  You can see that room and the rest of her lovely home on her IG page.  Thank you, Amanda, for letting me use your picture!!!

Now back to the countdown.

Today’s song was originally recorded by Bing Crosby & Carol Richards in 1950 and was featured in the 1951 movie “The Lemon Drop Kid” where it was sung by Bob Hope & Marilyn Maxwell.  It was written by movie composers Jay Livingston (music) and Ray Evans (lyrics).  Like many other Christmas songs originally sung by Crosby, it has become a holiday staple covered by everyone from Perry Como, Elvis Presley, The Supremes, Martina McBride and Michael Buble, to name a few.  But my favorite version is by the man born Dino Paul Crocetti.

Dean Dino

Dean Martin:  “Silver Bells” (1966).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days of Christmas Music 2018: Day 5

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

Christmas day 5

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

I love duets.  Always have.  There is something so special about two voices coming together.  They can be from opposite ends of the spectrum, like in the case of Bing Crosby & David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth”  or two women from two different eras like Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler on “Sisters“ or male/female like today’s song pick.  He’s a crooner who sings with big band sounds and she is a country superstar who writes (or co-writes) most of her own songs.   The musical arrangement for this duet is based on the Drifters version (which was featured in “Home Alone”) but also features some powerful horns which puts it on a level all its own.  It’s hard to believe that an Irving Berlin song from 1941 which is one of the most recorded songs in history can still be given a different spin after all these years.

Buble

Michael Buble & Shania Twain:  “White Christmas“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 13

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

small-town-christmas

(Courtesy of Cape Night Photography)

There are a lot of people who like their Christmas music old school.  I can totally understand that, being the music purist that I am.  And I love those songs, too (well, most of them anyway.)  But then I started hearing different versions of holiday music thanks to TV shows & movies using newer recordings in the soundtracks, or from watching videos of  fresh covers during MTV’s heyday, or hearing them performed in more novel ways during Christmas shows and specials.  And I fell in love with the songs all over again.

For years I did not hear any other version of this song except the original one from 1942.  There is no denying it is beautifully done.  Heck, it is the best selling single of all time.  But there are many different definitions of beautiful, and if I never heard this interpretation, what a misfortune that would have been.  For anyone who loves his original version of “What A Wonderful World“, today’s song is for you.

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Louis Armstrong (date and original source unknown)

Louis Armstrong:  “White Christmas

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

Christmas Song Countdown #15

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

chistmas-music-ornament

Courtesy:  Tea Green Chandelier

 

It is hard for me to believe that the same team behind the “Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer” TV special-Arthur Rankin, Jr. & Jules Bass-also came up with the story for the special based on today’s song, which was first recorded in 1951.  Perhaps one of them worked for Walt Disney at some point because he seemed to enjoy creating stories around subjects who lost parents.

The main character of this special is an orphan, so I do not enjoy watching this Christmas show at all.  I remember it being on our TV set year after year when I was a kid, but between the sad story and the operatic version of the song used in the special, I preferred to go to bed early rather than suffer through the show one more time.

But then I heard the song as a duet between Bing Crosby and the beautiful talented man we lost earlier this year-David Bowie (read my tribute here)-and suddenly the song was no longer the bane of my existence (I still hate the TV special, however.  The story of an orphan is not Christmas fare EVER, even if that orphan got to play his drum for the Baby Jesus!!!  A lot of kids with parents play the drum, too!!!)

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David Bowie & Bing Crosby (original source unknown)

 

Over the years I have heard other fantastic recordings of this song, but today’s pick is my favorite.  Why?  Because it’s by Ray Charles.  No other explanation necessary.

Ray Charles:  The Little Drummer Boy

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

10-shabby-chic-vase-decoration

 

Courtesy:  Christmas Celebrations 

 

 

“And The Stars Look Very Different Today…”

Not even two weeks into the new year and we already have a devastating loss in the world of music.  David Bowie, the 1970’s rock icon who transformed himself over and over throughout his illustrious career, died after an 18 month battle with cancer on January 10.  He was 69 years old.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Young/REX (100574d) David Bowie DAVID BOWIE AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - 1983

        Photo by Richard Young 1983

Born David Robert Jones in London on January 8, 1947, he changed his last name to avoid confusion with the other Davey Jones in The Monkees.  Bowie’s  musical career began with his break through album “Space Oddity” in 1969 and he spent the 1970’s establishing himself as a glam rock, art rock musician like no other with songs like “Changes“, “Golden Years“, “Rebel Rebel” and “Suffragette City“.  He easily segued from his Ziggy Stardust persona of the 70’s to the suave, well dressed gentleman in a string of 1980’s videos for hits like “Modern Love“, “Let’s Dance“, “China Girl” and “Blue Jean“.

Not only did Bowie do great work as a solo artist, but his collaborations were stunning as well.  Aside from his ground-breaking work with the likes of Lou Reed, Brian Eno and Iggy Pop, Bowie also worked with John Lennon on “Fame“,  covered the Motown classic “Dancing In The Streets” with Mick Jagger, joined Bing Crosby for a wonderful collaboration of “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth” and teamed up with rock group Queen for “Under Pressure“, to name a few.  These collaborations showed how innovative, versatile and truly unique Bowie’s musical genius was.

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Source:  ultimateclassicrock.com

Bowie also had several acting roles, most notably in the movies (he played Pontius Pilate in Martin Scorsese’s film “The Last Temptation Of Christ” as well as roles in “The Man Who Fell To Earth” and “The Linguini Incident“) and on the Broadway stage (he played the title role in “The Elephant Man” in 1980-1981).  He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1996 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by David Byrne of The Talking Heads.  On January 8 2016, on what was Bowie’s 69th birthday, his last recording “Blackstar” was released.

My two best memories of Bowie after his collaborations are when the TV series “Without A Trace” used “Space Oddity” in Anthony LaPaglia’s signature episode entitled “John Michaels“.  The second was Bowie’s performance at the Concert For NYC in 2001.  He was humble and grateful to the men and women who kept his adopted home of Manhattan safe and showed that with a stand out performance of “Heroes”.  I cannot seem to find that performance online, so here is that song from his “Live By Request” show a year later in 2002.

Rest in peace, David Bowie.  “And may God’s love be with you”.

david-bowie-august-8-2002-photographer-adam-bielawski[1]

Source:  livinglifeboomerstyle.com

Please note that I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

My Top 20 Christmas Songs

Music is such a special part of my life, and Christmas songs are no different.  There have been so many great versions of almost every song, it was hard to narrow it down to just 20.  But with 10 days to go before the big day, I thought I would share my list with all of you.

Each song includes a link to a YouTube video.  I do not own the rights to anything, nor am I associated with any of the channels/videos that I chose.  I just picked ones that showcased either the artists and/or the song enough to give you the best feel for the tune (in my humble opinion).

All opinions are my own.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  Tell me in the comments below.

Enjoy!!!

1)  Merry Christmas Baby by Bruce Springsteen ( written by Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore).

It’s Bruce.  To say this is perfect would only be redundant.

2)  Christmas Time is Here by the Peanuts ( written by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi).

The Peanuts were my best friends when I was a kid, and today they are just as special to me.  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the main reason why.  If all I did for the holiday season was watch this special, my Christmas would still be perfect.

3)  White Christmas by Otis Redding (written by Irving Berlin).

Yes, I know all about the popularity of Bing Crosby’s version.  However, in my humble opinion, Redding brings such a stunning soulful element to his version of this song I really cannot listen to any other one. And if it was good enough for the “Love Actually” soundtrack, it is good enough for me.

4)  Winter Wonderland by Ray Charles (written by Felix Bernard).

Charles’ take on this is as unique and gorgeous as his version of “America The Beautiful”.  Truly a holiday gem.

5)  Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives (written by Johnny Marks).

Who does not want a singing snowman???  Burl Ives is one of the reasons why I still tune in to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” even now.

6)  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love (written by Phil Spector, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry).

Love has performed this song on Letterman’s show since 1993.  You have to watch both the studio version and the live version to truly appreciate this song and Love’s voice.

http://youtu.be/4EvZOXEoJ84 (studio version)

http://youtu.be/m7M6wRPuD2w (2013 Letterman performance)

7)  Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (written by Charles Wesley).

Between the Peanuts characters singing it at the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and it being the song that celebrated George Bailey’s worth in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, it is impossible for me to hear any version of this song and not get verklempt.  A multitude of singers have covered this song but Martina McBride, Neil Diamond & Frank Sinatra’s versions are among my favorites.

8)  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (written by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane).

Tony Bennett called Garland the greatest singer he ever heard.  I am in no position to argue with a man of his talent and taste.

9)  Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley (written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson).

It’s ELVIS!!!

10)  O Come All Ye Faithful by Nat King Cole (written by John Francis Wade).

Most people associate him with the most famous version of “The Christmas Song”, but it is this Christmas classic that I love the most of Cole’s holiday recordings.

11)  The Christmas Song by Tony Bennett (written by Mel Torme & Robert Wells).

Tony Bennett is a legend.  If you do not have any of his music in your collection, you are doing yourself a disservice.

12)  It’s a Marshmallow World by Dean Martin (written in 1949 by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose).

I think Frank Sinatra would even agree that Martin was probably the coolest member of the Rat Pack.

13)  Celebrate Me Home by Kenny Loggins (written by Bob James and Kenny Loggins).

Not a cover of a Christmas classic, but a song of Loggins’ very own is now a holiday staple.

14)  What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder (written by Anna Gordy Gaye (yes, Marvin Gaye’s first wife) & George Gordy).

Another original Christmas tune that has become a staple of the holiday.  And who can forget Will Ferrell’s “Elf” jumping on the mattresses with his little brother while this song was playing?

15)  Silver Bells by Rosemary Clooney & Bing Crosby (written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans).

Before her nephew George was probably even born, Rosemary Clooney was Hollywood’s “it” girl.  Anything she sang was perfection and pairing her voice with Bing Crosby’s turned a song into a spectacular event.

16)  Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon (written by John Lennon & Yoko Ono).

From the man who told us “love is the answer”, peace was the gift he wanted for the world, and not just at Christmas.

17)  The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams (written by Eddie Pola and George Wyle).

I’ll admit this song now reminds me of back to school shopping thanks to a fabulous campaign several years ago by Staples, but it is a holiday classic nonetheless.

18)  The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth by Bing Crosby & David Bowie (Drummer Boy written by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati & Katherine Kennicott Davis, and the Peace on Earth music & lyrics written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan expressly for the recording by Crosby and Bowie).

In theory this was an odd pairing, but in principle their voices worked so well together it is hard to imagine this season without this song.  But I still wonder what would have happened if Bowie had shown up at Crosby’s house dressed as Ziggy Stardust???  (LOL)

19) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (written by Adolphe-Charles Adam).

South Park is one of my all time favorite shows, and this clip illustrates just one of the reasons why.  Any reverence I had for this song is gone thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but I would not have it any other way!!!

20)  Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy (written by Randy Brooks).

This brings back memories of me and my cousins signing this song to my grandmother, who I miss everyday, not just at Christmas.  But this makes me feel a little closer to her.